Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ellen Lebowitz: Wind is the Best Option

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is accepting comments on the three energy proposals under review through Friday, March 23. To encourage submissions, I announced the TommyWonk Energy Essay Contest. Send me your comments, and I will post them here.
Today's entry is from environmental activist Ellen Lebowitz, who writes that environmental, health and economic considerations all point to wind power as the best alternative:
The selection between NRG (coal), Bluewater Wind and Conectiv (natural gas) bids for Delaware’s future electricity generation will take place imminently. This is to urge you to do all you possibly can to have our decision makers select Bluewater Wind energy for Delaware’s next choice of cost effective, environmentally friendly, long-term electric generating power source. This is really where the rubber hits the road. Wind is clean, renewable and very competitive. In fact, it is hands down, the very best way to go for Delaware.
Wind is non-polluting. One must ask how much pollution costs the state of Delaware in terms of health care costs, clean up costs, regulatory costs and so forth. Greenhouse gases are not produced by wind power; not so with NRG’s coal power. There is some lip service about capturing and sequestering the CO2 produced in coal gasification but it is simply nonsense.
There is no practical way to sequester CO2 in Delaware at this time, but for argument’s sake if it were possible now to do so, by Morton Sissener’s own account 35%-40% of carbon emissions would still escape into the atmosphere. Sissener is the Director of Development for NRG Energy. IF it were possible to sequester the CO2, NRG states it would only do so if required, AND if the costs were borne by the ratepayer. The costs have been estimated to be many billions of dollars. Very Expensive. Now imagine the cost to Delaware of Global Climate Change. There is an overabundance of good science that stresses the urgent need for us to stop these greenhouse emissions and this is an opportunity to do so. Wind power is the way.
In terms of other environmental impacts, coal extraction is devastating mountaintops, leaving vast amounts of our landscape raped and damaged. Wastes are dumped into valleys and streams. Underground mining is a deadly occupation. Coal dust from the transport and subsequent storage of coal, adds particulate matter to our air. This causes major respiratory health problems for the citizens of Delaware. This is unacceptable. Even with the new IGCC technology proposed, the NRG facility will still have vastly greater air emissions than an equivalent amount of wind energy, which has NO emissions.
Conectiv’s Natural Gas bid is also very problematic when compared with wind energy. Natural gas is a fossil fuel and therefore it is polluting. There is also the issue of national security as we get much of our gas from the same countries that are a potential threat to our nation. The price of natural gas as well as coal fluctuates, unlike wind.
A robust investment in wind power would make Delaware a fine model for the rest of the country to emulate, along with other environmentally conscious states who realize we have no time to waste and NOW is the time. It is time for clean, renewable, non-carbon based energy.
A recent proposal for offshore wind energy would provide enough energy for 130,000 homes. This, from a non-polluting source!
Finally, Delawareans support wind power as shown in a recent survey conducted by University of Delaware researchers. (See:
State Treasurer Jack Markell has also stated his support to select wind power as Delaware’s preferred energy choice. He recommends that decision makers “strongly consider the importance of price stability, new technology, and reductions in environmental impacts (especially greenhouse gas emissions). They should take a long-term view of cost-effectiveness, considering not only today’s business environment but also the business environment in which these facilities will operate during their entire functioning life.”
Wind is here, it is free from Nature, and we can “harness” it now. We need to increase our energy efficiency and simultaneously make the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewables. Now is our opportunity. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do; it’s the economical thing to do; it’s the moral thing to do.
I hope you will do everything you can to ensure a healthy future for our children.
Well said Ellen, and thank you.
Comments to the PSC can be submitted to, and to me at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Ellen.
This is such a no brainer to me but I guess that a lot more education of the public is needed to ensure that the pols agree to go with the wind.

There is no down side and it can generate much needed dollars for Delawareans.

12:16 PM, March 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I had written so much on this PSC decision, I decided to pass on your essay contest.

I changed my mind. Since so much has been said by so many, I felt there was little I could add. My words would echoes of those better spoken elsewhere.

And then I had the privilege of hearing private citizen Gore here is my entry....

10:36 PM, March 22, 2007  
Blogger Nancy Willing said...

I have already written to the PSC but I guess I will do it again to make sure they get it.

12:29 PM, March 23, 2007  

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